The Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel, expressing concern at recent rejections by Sri Lanka’s president on the need for an international component to the accountability process, called on the UN Rights Chief to insist that Sri Lanka implements the UNHRC resolution.
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel, consists of a panel of international legal experts including Richard J Rogers, Justice Akit Prakash Shah, Marie Guiraud, Peter Haynes QC and Heather Ryan.
Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel
Contact: Richard J Rogers
3 February 2016
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel (‘MAP’) has been established to provide independent monitoring, advice, and recommendations on the transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka. We focus on accountability from a victims’ perspective. Please see http://war-victims-map.org/ for more information.
We understand that you will visit Sri Lanka in the coming days to discuss the progress made by the Sri Lankan Government to address the mass atrocities and other human rights abuses committed during, and since, the armed conflict. The types of judicial and non-judicial measures necessary to deal effectively with these violations were outlined in the OHCHR Report, dated 28 September 2015. The subsequent Human Rights Council Resolution (A/HRC/30/L.29) – which was co-sponsored by the Sri Lankan Government – reiterated the need to establish a special judicial mechanism to investigate and prosecute “violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law.” The Resolution affirmed “the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the special counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators.”
We note with concern the recent statement by President Maithripala Sirisena (BBC) interview, 21 January 2016) that he will “never agree to international involvement” and that “[w]e have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues”. This statement goes against both the word and spirit of the Resolution. It is also patently incorrect – as clearly outlined in successive reports by independent UN experts, the Sri Lankan justice system does not have the requisite independence, impartiality or expertise to administer fair and effective war crimes prosecutions. The Sri Lanka Government must not be allowed to backtrack on its commitments or use technical legal excuses to block full international judicial and prosecutorial participation.
If the accountability mechanisms are to “uphold the rule of law and to build confidence in the people of all communities of Sri Lanka” there must be a meaningful consultation process. The victims’ voice must be heard. And their views on the need for full participation of foreign judges and prosecutors within the judicial process must be accommodated.
We urge you to insist that the Sri Lankan Government conducts broad consultations with all stakeholders and respects